My family is very ordinary to me. We eat dinner together. We gather in the living room and watch movies. Last weekend, we went on a camping trip and sat around the campfire making s’mores, the grown-ups enjoying a few beers while my 9-year-old daughter challenged us with endless rounds of “would you rather?” It all feels so wonderfully mundane that sometimes I have to remind myself that most people view us as strange at best, depraved at worst.
I’m polyamorous, which means I believe you can love multiple partners at the same time. I’m in a relationship with my husband of nearly 17 years, and my boyfriend, with whom I celebrated my second anniversary in May. (In polyamorous lingo, our relationship is known as a “V”; I’m the “hinge” of the V and my two partners are the vertices.) People often say our lives sound complicated, but the truth is, we’re quite harmonious. We often joke that we’d make incredibly boring subjects for reality TV.
That hasn’t kept the world at large from condemning us. The right has spent years warning that we are the travesty waiting down the slippery slope of same-sex marriage. With every stride forward for marriage equality, I can count on turning on the TV to find conservative talking heads lumping families like mine in with pedophilia and bestiality. But liberals, for the most part, don’t treat us much better. They’re quick to insist that same-sex marriage would never, ever lead to such awful things — failing to point out how multi-partner relationships between consenting adults do not exactly belong in the same category as “relationships” with children or goats.
Even people who don’t vilify us still have a great deal of misconception. Aren’t you just “having your cake and eating it too,” they ask me? Isn’t this unfair to the men? Doesn’t this hurt your daughter? The confusion is understandable. Many people have never seen a polyamorous family like ours before. So let me explain how it works — or, at least, how it works for us.
My path here was a long one. As far back as I can remember, I felt that loving one person romantically did not preclude the possibility of loving another at the same time. It seemed natural and intuitive to me. But I had no models for that way of living, so I assumed there was something wrong with me.
I married my husband and remained in a monogamous relationship with him for many years. I knew I wanted to be with him for the long haul. But I was never entirely fulfilled. I couldn’t shake the feeling that some part of me was repressed.
“The right has spent years warning that we are the travesty waiting down the slippery slope of same-sex marriage.” – yeah, as a matter of fact, “the right” has been predicting this. And being called crazy for it, and being vilified for it by people who insisted that it’s just crazy, crazy, crazy to suppose that the left is planning a deliberate assault on the institution of marriage – no; we don’t want to redefine anything; we just want gay people to not be excluded…..nothing at all will actually change…..
The only question left is how deliberate the lies are – how many of the liars are just suckers rather than deceitful.
And by the way, someone needs to explain to this nice lady with two husbands that “age should not be used as an indicator of a young person’s capacity to make autonomous decisions….[doing so] can lead to the perpetuation of judgmental attitudes….” After all, it’s a crime to discriminate against someone based on sexual orientation, and now we are finding evidence that pedophilia might be an “orientation” – neither chosen nor changeable – just like homosexuality. (Why is it that every sexual “special/privileged identity group” thinks they are normal and it’s only all those other weirdos who are deviant, anyway?)
No word yet on how the bestiality case involving the guy with the donkey is going – but remember: it is an established principle under the law now that “morality” is not a valid reason to interfere with someone’s right to sexual satisfaction. So if the courts are to find an excuse to not permit Carlos to “love” Doodles, they’ll have to be more creative than that….